Gamification, where organizations incorporate game dynamics into applications, is one of the latest trends. Many view it as a silver bullet to load into marketing websites, innovation tools, worker productivity tools, ERP systems, and social environments. The hope is that these applications will attract and retain ‘players’ that will get hooked into playing their new game, and make the mundane more fun. Not a bad application for game dynamics and the use of game theory, but it is the easy association and a small play related to its potential.
Many are looking at gamification as strictly creating application software that uses game concepts to motivate players. They desire to create software that provides:
- Free and safe place to play
- Accelerated feedback cycles
- Clear goals and rules
- Achievable goals/challenges
However, this is a small play for the use of game dynamics, and it misses the purpose behind game play research. Think about when you were young and the games you used to play. Think about how you could creatively conjure a game from just about anything, the roles you and your friends would play, the rules that you would invent, and the mental energy that flowed into their creation. There were no limits for our imagination, our willingness to try and error, or collaborative energy between our friends. The environment you played within was the safe and supportive world supplied by your friends and your mind.
Instead of looking at the bulleted list above as a set of software requirements, we need to use these as organizational requirements and principles. They need to be used as guides for every individual to create an environment where the constructs of play become commonplace. This is the massive potential for the use of game dynamics. Giving us the freedom to create, innovate, try, error, and incorporate play into our everyday lives.